The True Cost of ‘Executive Education’

Looking back over my posts I noticed a significant interest in posts relating to personal/professional development. I guess its something we all have a watchful eye on for new ways of making ourselves stand-out

This post extends some of my other posts (,, but with a focus upon ‘The True Cost of Executive Education’ which many people often do not realise

Physical Costs

These are the more obvious costs which relate specifically to the financial outlay:

1. Tuition Cost: Most career enhancing educational ventures require a significant capital outlay for tuition and other possible fees including residency. There are options available though to minimise this cost (ie. scholarships, friends/family, company sponsorship, career development loans etc).

2. Travel Cost: The benefits of travelling to prestigious Universities or gaining a global perspective first-hand through placements or international workshops brings with it significant costs. Costs may include hotels, transport, meals and if travelling somewhere new the chances are you will want to explore so all the normal costs associated with lets say a weekend-break.

Non-Physical Costs

These are the less obvious costs which if not managed effectively could become a bigger impact than the Physical Costs, which many people tend to focus upon:

3. Friends/Family: It is not easy! If working whilst studying think of how difficult it may be now to find time outside of your work schedule to socialise with friends or spend time with the family. Then add a potential need for late night cramming sessions, regular course work assignments and examinations.

4. Personal Achievement: Do you enjoy running marathons? How about that Football training three nights and then matches on a weekend? Chances are, there will need to be some cut-backs and most likely you may either struggle to warrant spending 3 hours on a training run or you may lose the motivation.

5. Career: Is the education venture REALLY worth it? What will you get out of it afterwards? You have to think of it as an investment in yourself, but also think of what else you may need to do to get ahead. There may be opportunities which you have to forego because of your choice to study

6. Time: Linking in with the above, be prepared to spend at least 10 hours per week dedicated to coursework, studying or revision. If you want a top-grade then at-least double this. It will take time away from other things in your life, if it be work, home or hobbies

I see these six areas as being areas which are often underestimated. It is through excellent compromise where one with significant family ties, networks or businesses can make a success out of advanced education. But in my view, achieving the balance is well-worth it as the benefits (as noted in ‘The Pros and Cons of an MBA) far outweigh the dis-benefits

Have you got any experience of these? Do you have any more to add? Please comment

Stephen Baines is a Management Consultant and MBA student currently working for Hewlett-Packard and studying at Manchester Business School. The views within this post are explicitly those of Stephen and have no representation of any organisation Stephen represents. If you wish to contact Stephen, please contact him via LinkedIn or his Twitter handle (@baines1986)

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